In an interview with Emrah Engindeniz, Programme Management Officer at the Global Water Operators' Partnerships Alliance (GWOPA), the focus shifted to the vital role the organization plays in water preservation and its significant contributions to COP28.

The Global Water Operators’ Partnerships Alliance: Bridging gaps in water services

Access to water and sanitation services is a fundamental aspect of a healthy and fulfilling life. While many take these services for granted, hundreds of millions of people worldwide face inadequate or absent water and sanitation facilities. This is where GWOPA steps in.

Established in 2009 under the recommendation of the United Nations Secretary-General on water and sanitation, GWOPA operates as a UN-Habitat global programme. The organization’s primary objective is to enhance access to water and sanitation through Water Operators’ Partnerships (WOPs), which are peer support exchanges between water operators. These exchanges, carried out on a not-for-profit basis, aim to strengthen operators' capacity to deliver better services to a larger population.

Engindeniz stated passionately that "Water is not just a resource; it's the lifeline of our planet. As we confront the climate crisis, we must ensure the steady flow of sustainable solutions, for without water, the conversation about climate adaptation and mitigation remains incomplete."

Navigating the path to sustainable water solutions

Emrah Engindeniz, in his role as Programme Management Officer, sheds light on GWOPA's journey and mission. He emphasizes the organization’s commitment to improving the capacity of water and sanitation operators, making them more climate-resilient and sustainable institutions. The ultimate goal is to address water issues on a daily basis and extend services to marginalized communities, particularly those in slums and informal settlements.

Engindeniz underscores the critical importance of water in climate adaptation and mitigation efforts. As a core partner of the Water Pavilion, GWOPA actively participates in COP processes, contributing to thematic discussions on local-level water and climate adaptation. The organization collaborates with partners such as Water Europe and the Rio de Janeiro state of Brazil to design comprehensive programmes that highlight the indispensable role of water and sanitation service providers.

GWOPA's impact at COP 28: Communicating the utility's crucial role

As COP 28 brings together global leaders and minds in sustainable development, Engindeniz discusses the impact GWOPA aims to create. The organization seeks to communicate the frontline role of water and sanitation service providers in addressing climate crises. Engindeniz emphasizes the utility's critical role in ensuring access to drinking water and managing wastewater to prevent ecosystem contamination.

GWOPA's engagement extends beyond rhetoric, as the organization actively participates in COP discussions and contributes to the institutionalized thematic discussions on water. Through initiatives like the Water Pavilion, GWOPA aims to ensure a comprehensive understanding of the challenges faced by water and sanitation service providers.

Engindeniz's insights reveal GWOPA's commitment to advancing sustainable water solutions and advocating for the pivotal role of water operators in addressing global climate challenges. As COP progresses, the impact of GWOPA's initiatives in water preservation and climate adaptation remains a focal point of attention.

Banner image: [Arne Hoel / World Bank]